Hague man arrested at Schiphol for fighting in Syrian civil war

Koninklijke Marechaussee
Koninklijke Marechaussee. (Photo: Koninklijke Marechaussee / Facebook)

A 24-year-old man from The Hague was arrested at Schiphol airport last week Wednesday. He is suspected of fighting in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Kurdish YPG militia, the Public Prosecutor said in a statement.

According to the Prosecutor, the man left the Netherlands in 2016, traveling first to France and then to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq. He was identified in a broadcast of television program EenVandaag in September 2017. On that episode the man was seen walking through Raqqa with a Kalashnikov and a scarf around his face. An ADO Den Haag badge was stitched onto his combat clothing. He told the show that he was fighting for the Kurds against terrorist organization ISIS. 

An arrest warrant was issued against the man some time ago. Last week he drew the attention of the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for airport security, at Schiphol airport. The Marechaussee checked the man's passport and arrested him. He was arraigned on Tuesday and remanded into custody for two weeks.

The man told the authorities that he returned to the Netherlands a month ago. 

Dutch who fought in the Syrian civil war, on whatever side, can be prosecuted in the Netherlands for crimes committed in Syria. In 2016 the Public Prosecutor investigated a former soldier who claimed that he fought with the Kurds for months against ISIS. The Prosecutor eventually decided to drop the case against him, because there was no evidence that he was personally involved in any murders.